In the Doi Moi (renovation) process, with the transition from a planned market economy to a socialist-oriented market economy, the Party and State have adopted many policies to encourage business. The number of registered businesses rose from 4,080 in 1992 to 376,644 by the end of 2008. It is expected that there will be an additional 76,000 businesses this year. The country now has 3.7 million household businesses, including more than 1 million registered households and 14,500 cooperatives, more than half of them non-agricultural.
“If we consider entrepreneurs to be owners or managers of economic production or trade units, the country has a total of about 4 million entrepreneurs,” said Loc.
The quality of entrepreneurs has improved along with the growth in the number of businesses. Business is like a battlefield. It is not easy to win the battle. During the economic crisis, VCCI reported that 63 percent of Vietnamese businesses were in a fix and about half of them were in danger of going bankrupt. According to its latest survey, 91 percent of businesses have ironed out the snags and more than half of them are on a roll to expand their market. These figures show that many Vietnamese businesses have found the light at the end of the tunnel.
However, many newly established businesses are too cash-strapped and short of technological and managerial capacity to compete with foreign partners.
Sailing to the great ocean
The Party’s Politburo assigned VCCI to work out a draft defining the proper role of entrepreneurs in the process of national industrialisation and modernisation, and international integration. Developing entrepreneurs will be a key factor in Vietnam’s bid to catch up with foreign countries. The government’s new policies and directions will help entrepreneurs develop, but they will have to restructure to improve their competitiveness.
Nguyen Van Khoi, General Director of the Investment and Trading of Real Estate Joint Stock Company (Intresco) said VCCI’s draft should be specific so that every entrepreneur can enter the fray.
“Japan was a poor country like us in the past, but they have grown very rapidly to become the world’s second largest economy. We, Vietnamese people are also very intelligent, so why can’t we reach their level? It is the entrepreneurs who will provide a solution to the puzzle,” he added.
Nguyen Dinh Thien, Head of the Vietnam Institute of Economics, said the world will change drastically after a once-in-a- century economic crisis. As A. Greenspan put it, there will be two main trends in the world.
First, developed countries will transfer low-technology jobs to developing countries. Vietnam should be careful about this transfer because the combination of low-technology and low-quality human resources will be disastrous for the long-term development of Vietnam.
Second, high technology will give a boost to national economies and the developing countries have to renew their thinking if they want to swim with the tide. Conservative approaches will be a stumbling block to development, so it is very important to clarify who their competitors and partners are in today’s highly competitive world, especially in the dynamic but ever-changing Asia-Pacific region.
The bottom line is that Vietnamese entrepreneurs need to improve their business support services including the information and forecasting system and the business development system, said Vu Quoc Tuan, Head of the Vietnam Craft Villages Association.